Bald Eagle photo by Patsy Russo
Alabama is the fourth most biologically diverse state in the U.S. This is due to the diversity of habitats across the state, from the beaches along the gulf coast to the Appalachian Mountains of north Alabama. Over 650 species of wildlife can be found in Alabama.
The mission of the Nongame Wildlife Program is to manage, protect, and enhance the populations of nongame wildlife which make Alabama so unique. Nongame wildlife are those species that are not legally hunted, which make up more than 95 percent of the native species that Alabama has to offer, making our mission a formidable task to handle.
Since the program started in 1984 there have been many accomplishments and success stories, such as:
- 91 bald eagles released to restore a nesting population of our national symbol in Alabama.
- More than 10,000 bluebird nest boxes built and coordination with more than 1,000 volunteers to "Bring Back the Bluebird."
- Managed and protected Gaillard Island, Mobile Bay to produce more than 10,000 brown pelicans in eight years-more pelicans produced in Alabama than in the last century.
- Reintroduced the Eastern indigo snake, a threatened species, to the longleaf pine ecosystem in south Alabama.
- Established and maintained the North Alabama Birding Trail and assisted with additional birding trails across the state.
There are many ongoing projects that the Nongame Wildlife Program biologists are leading and coordinating such as bald eagle surveys and white-nose syndrome surveillance in bat species across the state. Hundreds of surveys are conducted each year to allow us to monitor populations of imperiled species and better manage our state's nongame wildlife.
The Nongame Program helps administer endangered and threatened species projects on federally and/or state-listed species, and also issues Scientific Collecting Permits to enable a wide range of projects and collect the data. Along with these projects, the nongame staff assists the public every day with nongame questions and problems.
The Nongame Wildlife Program is made possible thanks to Alabama's hunters. The program is funded through hunting licence revenue along with federal matching funds provided from an excise tax on the sale of guns and ammunition. Also, the Nongame Fund Tax Checkoff located on state income taxes has provided funds to the program since it was started. If you would like to support the Nongame Wildlife Program and Alabama's nongame wildlife, consider assisting with the Nongame Fund Tax Checkoff on your tax return or purchasing a Hunting or Natural Heritage License.